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Former Francois Lurton finance chief faces embezzlement charge

The former finance director of winemaker Francois Lurton is due in court in Bordeaux for misappropriating EUR50,000 of company funds before his departure in 2011.

The man, who is in his 40s but who has not been named, is alleged to have paid 14 cheques into his personal account over three years between 2008 and 2011. His alleged activities, including writing fictitious cheques, were discovered by his successor.

Cheques were typically for small sums between EUR3,500 (GBP2,950) and EUR7,000, decanter.com understands.

Francois Lurton owns several vineyards in France, Argentina, Spain and Chile.

The former finance director in question was left in charge of the Bordeaux-based business when Lurton was working or travelling abroad, which meant he had responsibility for signing cheques and supervising the financial and administrative activities of the group.

He is believed to have admitted his guilt and is expected to appear before a tribunal Bordeaux in October, a spokesperson for Francois Lurton confirmed to decanter.com.

‘Several suppliers complained that they had not been paid, when it appeared on our account books that they had been,’ Vincent Bréelle, the new director of the company, told local newspapers.

He called it ‘an unfortunate episode that is now behind us’, adding that the group is not seeking damages, but does want to the funds repaid.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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